Pub Debate – Public Sector Project Failures, Blame the Suppliers!

Stop press!

We now have our final two speakers confirmed. Caroline Cake is a founder of consulting firm 2020 Delivery, which has done brilliant work in the NHS particularly over recent years. She has an Engineering degree from Cambridge and a Harvard MBA and worked for ICI and McKinsey before starting the firm.  Martin Webb is a procurement legend, an ex CPO in the telecoms industry and beyond, consultant and trainer. He has been working in recent years to improve commercial skills in the civil service through training and education programmes. Along with Paul Clayton, Allan Watton and me, it should make for a stimulating evening!

So, our forthcoming Pub Debate with our friends from Basware will be held on March 28th in the private room at the Clarence Pub, Whitehall, London (refreshments provided).  “This House believes that suppliers are still ripping off the government and the taxpayer” is the motion to be debated, and we have some stimulating speakers lined up to argue for and against that proposition.

You can book here – it is a 5.30 for a 6pm prompt start, the formal event finishes at 7pm, then more drinks for those who want to hang around and network further.

Allan Watton is one of our speakers. He runs the consulting firm Best Practice Group, which works with many public sector clients to improve or rescue major outsourcing contracts. He has tremendous experience and knowledge of how to make major contracts work better, and he also writes very useful and interesting articles on the firm’s website – there is a wealth of relevant information there.

In his article here, he looks at the recent issues Capita has reported, and then goes from that into a discussion of what you can do if a provider starts to have problems that impact their service to your organisation. It is excellent advice, and he gives four recommendations in terms of how to address such challenges; the first three are headlined - check your contract; document anything material; do not let productivity or quality slide, and then this as the final point.

Have a service delivery disaster recovery plan (not just a DR plan from the same supplier). Do you have a real service delivery backup plan if your supplier completely fails in its duties and is unable to remedy the position over a reasonable time? For those of you in the public sector, there are emergency procurement rules that, provided they are operated in the appropriate way, can assure you have a replacement service implemented quickly from an alternative supplier.

In addition, there are legal tools available to ensure that if your legacy supplier attempts to ‘frustrate’ the process of moving to a different ‘emergency supplier’, they can be held accountable to remedy the situation and be forced to cooperate sensibly. From a general perspective, it also makes sense to regularly benchmark your legacy supplier’s costs against those of the market at large to ensure that you are getting true value. You can supplement this by staying in regular contact with others in the supplier market, should there a come a time when you need more than simply pricing information from them. To have such a service delivery backup plan will embolden a client to do what is most appropriate for the good of their service delivery relationship should the need arise”.

We hope to see you on the 28th!

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